SLED Agent Accused Of Making Moonshine

By JACK C. ORR
Of The Record Staff

A veteran State Law Enforcement Division agent, L. B. Harmon, has been discharged after being arrested for storage, possession, manufacture and transporting illegal liquor.

Harmon, who had been a SLED agent for seven years, was assigned to the SLED Alcohol Division working out of SLED headquarters near Columbia.

The warrant issued by City Magistrate Frank Powell Sunday was signed by J. P. Strom, SLED chief. Harom is charged, Strom said, with having continued the operation of an illegal whiskey still where he, along with other officers, had made a raid last Saturday in the Pontiac section of Richland County near Sesquicentennial Park north of Columbia on Highway 1.

Strom said Harmon headed a raid on the still along with Richland deputies Sgt. C. E. Brooks and E. B. Cooper. Strom said that a man arrested at the still site, Mansel Clifton Coleman, 49-year-old white man, Route 2, Blaney, was charged with operating the still and reportedly was sent off to jail in the custody of the two Richland deputies.

In the meantime, Strom continued, SLED agent Harmon left the scene and went to a residence of an acquaintance where he obtained a quantity of jars.

Returning to the still scene, Strom said, Harmon took possession of 18 gallons of already distilled whiskey and continued the distillery process with 300 gallons of mash at the site.

Strom declined to specify the amount of finished whiskey that Harmon is said to have distilled before the operation was closed down.

He did say, however, that some whiskey was taken into custody in a raid made Sunday at a storage point near Harmon’s Horrell Hill home.

Strom said that Harmon was placed under arrest at about 8 p.m. Sunday at the SLED barracks on the Newberry Highway near Columbia. He was released, however on $1,000 bond set by Magistrate Powell and posted by a local attorney, Frank Taylor.

Law Officers in the investigation were SLED Chief Strom, Assistant Cheif Dan Beckman, Lt. Jim Wislon of SLED, along with Sheriff S. S. Sligh of Richland County.

The arrest warrant was served on Harmon by a fellow lawman, SLED agent Bob Hilliard. Richland deputies reported the still consisted of a 100-gallon distillery, six 50-gallon barrel of fermenting mash, and other distillery equipment.

September 3, 1962  Columbia Record (published as THE COLUMBIA RECORD) 
 Columbia, South Carolina
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